Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A Little Mathematics For Independence Day

This year (2010) 17 African countries will mark their 50 years of independence from colonial rule. Many people especially in Nigeria think there is nothing much to celebrate. Some go on to call Nigeria names like "fool at fifty". I am not going to argue for or against that point of view but I will try to make a comparison of Nigeria with the United States and see whether we have made any progress in the last fifty years. I picked the U.S.A because people often cite examples with the United States when trying to make a point about how backward we are.

The United States became independent in 1776, that is 234 years ago. If we are to assume both Nigeria and the U.S are human beings and the U.S to be an adult of 40 years old then how old will Nigeria be in comparison.
Using simple mathematics we can apply the following formula

50/234 = x/40

where x is Nigeria's age if it were human.

x =8.54 years

So Nigeria is only an 8 year old child compared to the 40 year old America. For a child of that age, I think we've not done too bad.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Dealing With Piracy

I was reading an article about Selling Software In China and came across the following statement under the topic "Dealing With Piracy";

"Actually “Dealing with piracy” is a misleading title, because in reality there is no way to deal with piracy. People will crack, copy and use your software as they wish, and they will not even feel guilty about it. Again, let’s not judge, but accept the fact that piracy is simply part of the culture (for some it is piracy, for others it is just sharing) Instead of talking about code scramblers and licensing keys, let me offer here a contrarian (perhaps even controversial) point of view, in the wisdom of “if you can’t fight them, join them”. You should consider yourself lucky if your software gets pirated, because that means that it got traction. For every pirated software there is always a happy user behind it (after all, they chose to pirate your software, and not your competitor’s), and if this user convinces their employer to use your software, then there is a good chance that these companies will be your future clients."

This statement makes a lot of sense to me. Instead of looking at piracy from the constant negative point of view why don't we try to be innovative and tactically deal with, and profit from it. For example, companies like Oracle and Microsoft have made some money in Nigeria because of piracy. The easy availability of pirated copies of their software gets a lot of users for them and these users end up paying for the certifications offered by these companies. Imagine a piracy free Nigeria where users only have access to legitimate copies of these software, definitely there will be very little or no users and almost zero dollars generated from the certifications.

I am not saying piracy is good, but if you can't get through it why not get around it.